11 July 2023
The nature and origin of space-time
an insider's perspective on the universe
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Would space and time exist
if the universe were empty? Yes, according to Newton, father of the popular imagination of absolute space and time as a stage on which the cosmic play unfolds. Nope, says Leibniz; they are merely mathematical relationships between objects, not real entities. Modern physics is cleaved by a similar absolute-relational divide between quantum theory and Einstein’s gravitational theory of curved spacetime. A unified, more fundamental understanding is sought to unravel the mysteries of black holes and the big bang, and for shedding light on the true nature of spacetime. To this end, some of the world's brightest minds will be gathering in Nijmegen this summer for the Quantum Gravity 2023 conference.
Three of its invited speakers will share their mind-boggling ideas and the newest insights during a special summer edition of the Science Café at the border of the Waal. Thomas Hertog (KU Leuven) will take us along on his quest with Stephen Hawking, venturing far back to the universe's primordial roots. By trading the traditional God's-eye view for an insider’s perspective we may discern a deep sort of evolution in which the physical laws themselves transform until particles, forces, and even time itself fades away. The fundamental role of perspective and relations is explored in Flaminia Giacomini's (ETH Zurich) thought experiments. By seeing the quantum world from multiple points of view at once, she will demonstrate that - upon interaction - a shared spacetime reality is taking shape. Daniele Oriti (LMU Munich) investigates how exactly spacetime and the entire cosmos can emerge from entities that themselves are not in space and time. He’ll discuss the conceptual and philosophical aspects of this endeavor, for which our basic notions and intuition prove futile. We need new eyes to see the universe!
This smoking hot science will be served with cool drinks and music by Lamm & Pielsticker, who will infuse the evening with their own Jazzy blend of complexity ... to grow us new ears. Space: cultural terrace De Kaaij. Time: Tuesday evening July 11, 7.30/8 pm. Seize the evening!